Tag Archives: pulp heroes

2017’s BEST: JANUARY

December is the month for retrospectives of the calendar year. Here’s a look at Balladeer’s Blog’s Best from January.

nyctalope-2NUMBER ONE – It wasn’t even close! Far and away the most popular blog post from January was my examination of Jean de la Hire’s neglected Pulp Hero, the Nyctalope (“Nightwalker”). This cyborg hero debuted very early in the 20th Century – as in before World War One!

Years before Doc Savage and others, the Nyctalope (Leo Saint-Clair) battled world-conquering supervillains, alien menaces, lost Amazon civilizations, Far Eastern Blood Cults and much, much more! From Earth to Mars to Earth’s non-existent second moon called Rhea follow this criminally overlooked figure into action! CLICK HERE 

asra-nomani-3NUMBER TWO – The ladies in the Real-Life League of Extraordinary Women always get a big reaction from readers and this entry was no exception!

The heroic Asra Nomani dove into the fray unafraid, confounding those Left-Wing Archie Bunkers who feel that ONLY Muslims who hate the Western World are “authentic.” For the blog post on this remarkable lady CLICK HERE 

no-survivors-please-2NUMBER THREE – Balladeer’s Blog’s reviews of bad and/or obscure movies are among my favorite pieces to write. For January the film review that stood out to you readers was this one:

No Survivors Please (1964) – A black & white sci fi curiosity from West Germany. The film dealt with an alien invasion but was – to say the least – different from virtually any other alien invasion flick. At least in presentation, if not in ideas. For the actual review CLICK HERE 

Apollo 17 patchNUMBER FOUR – Legendary Apollo Astronaut Eugene Cernan passed away in January of 2017.

In memory of this space pioneer Balladeer’s Blog ran a synopsis of Cernan’s Apollo 17 mission – the last Apollo  flight to visit the moon.

As a bonus I examined five OTHER Apollo missions, too.

For all that moon-madness CLICK HERE 

NUMBER FIVE – PAT CONDELL needs no introduction, and on Inauguration Day back in January I re-ran Pat’s Election Day 2016 monologue about how it HAD to be Trump. This post was very popular but I can’t take credit for any of it – it is ALL Pat’s material. BUT HE NAILED IT! CLICK BELOW TO HEAR HIM:

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SILVER JOHN: THREE STORIES

Silver John: Can These Bones Live?

Silver John: Can These Bones Live?

I’m still a fan of Manly Wade Wellman’s pulp hero Silver John, the roaming singer and guitarist who fights supernatural forces in the Appalachian Mountains of long ago, sort of like a countrified  Orpheus  meets Kolchak. He’s called Silver John because of the silver strings on his guitar and the silver coins he carries in his pockets.

For more details click here: https://glitternight.com/pulp-heroes/

NOBODY EVER GOES THERE – Just a reminder that all the Silver John stories published after his marriage to his beloved Evadare (click here if you missed the tales chronicling that landmark event – https://glitternight.com/2011/06/03/pulp-heroes-silver-john-four-for-friday/  ) jump around in time.

This short story is set when John is much older. Plus the tale breaks from the tradition of having the stories narrated by Silver John in the first person. We get a third person narrative in which the older (probably 40s) balladeer comes to the aid of two young lovers in the town of Trimble.

Mark Banion and Ruth Covel, two teachers at Trimble High, cross to the forbidden side of Catch River, where ancient, shadowy life forms caused the disappearance of an entire textile factory crew plus their families. All of that happened over 75 years ago, but strange sounds still emanate from the creepy-looking abandoned factory and the company houses nearby. Continue reading

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THE MAN IN THE BLACK CLOAK (1886): NEGLECTED ARCHETYPE

man-in-the-black-cloak-4THE MAN IN THE BLACK CLOAK (1886) by P.T. Raymond (Francis W Doughty). Before Batman there was the Shadow. Before the Shadow there was Judex. And before Judex there was the Man in the Black Cloak, or simply the Black Cloak as I’ll call him for short. And ironically, four years before The Man in the Black Cloak was published there was simply The Man in Black, a story I will examine another time.

Our present tale first appeared in serialized form in Boys of New York in July and August of 1886. The title figure is a neglected forerunner of dark-attired vigilantes like Judex and the Shadow, plus his paranormal abilities mark him as a very early proto-superhero.  

I need to start right at the top with a certain amount of spoilers to make it clear the kind of place the Black Cloak should occupy when tracing early influences on Pulps and superhero stories.  

Our title character at first appears to be a somewhat sinister figure as he effortlessly makes his furtive way around 1880s New York City, often glimpsed by young salesman Bob Leeming. Bob is increasingly disturbed, both by the way this man follows him around and by the man’s bright, burning eyes and chalky-white complexion, glimpsed just above his pulled-up coat collar and bandit kerchief.    Continue reading

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THE CROSS OF BLOOD LOCATED

cross-of-bloodThank you to all the Balladeer’s Blog readers who let me know where to lay my hands on a French copy of The Cross of Blood (1941), one of the Nyctalope novels I had not yet been able to track down.

I have ordered it and will post a review after I get a chance to read it.

For my take on many of the other adventures of France’s cyborg Pulp Hero the Nyctalope CLICK HERE  Continue reading

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THE NYCTALOPE: NEGLECTED PULP HERO

nyctalope-1Balladeer’s Blog examines another Pulp Hero who doesn’t get as much love as he deserves. Science Fiction pioneer Jean de la Hire from France created the Nyctalope (“Nightwalker”) in 1908 but since many of de la Hire’s works were not translated into English for decades this fascinating cyborg Pulp Hero and proto-superhero languished in obscurity.

nyctalope-2This French figure survived a violent incident with the help of scientists who “had the technology” to give him yellow bionic eyes which could see in the dark and for long distances. In addition his saviors replaced his damaged heart with a cybernetic one, endowing him with superhuman stamina since that artificial organ slowed the buildup of lactic acid in his system. 

The Nyctalope’s serialized adventures were collected into novel form after each story ended.

man-who-could-live-underwaterTHE MAN WHO COULD LIVE UNDERWATER (1908) In the story which introduced the Nyctalope he was a supporting character to one of Jean de la Hire’s other fictional figures, in this case Charles Severac. That man invented and captained the Torpedo, a super-scientific submarine that would make Captain Nemo AND Mighty Jack green with envy.

The Nyctalope helped Severac battle a mad scientist named Oxus and his associates Fulbert the monk and Balsan the surgeon. The villains had created a hybrid shark-man called the Ichtaner, meant to be the start of an amphibious army. Needless to say our heroes emerged triumphant and the Ichtaner was returned to normal.

In this debut appearance the Nyctalope’s secret identity was given as Jean de Sainte Clair, but de la Hire would absent-mindedly alternate between that and Leo Saint-Clair in future adventures before finally settling on the latter name.

(NOTE: Various fan-created histories of the Nyctalope resolve the difference by claiming that Jean de Sainte Clair was the father of Leo Saint-Clair. As fun as those fan works are they are not always official.)

nyctalope-on-marsTHE MYSTERY OF THE FIFTEEN (1911) aka THE NYCTALOPE ON MARS – Oxus the Mad returned as a villain in this first solo adventure of the Nyctalope. Oxus (renamed Arkhus in some later translations) was a member of a group called The Fifteen – a secret organization of megalomaniacal madmen.

The Fifteen had formed an alliance with a race on Mars, and through that alliance they had access to interplanetary spacecraft and additional advanced technology. Oxus, Koynos and their co-conspirators were spiriting women away to the Red Planet to marry some of them. They were planning to use the rest on a project cross-breeding Martians and humans to create perfect beings and an unstoppable warrior race in order to conquer both worlds. Continue reading

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GREEN HORNET (2006): NOT THE SETH ROGAN MOVIE

The Green Hornet (2006)

The Green Hornet (2006)

Attention, my fellow Green Hornet fans: All of us disappointed by the awkward 2011 Seth Rogan Green Hornet movie can savor this experimental 2006 French short.

This 10 minute story is much better than the 2011 flick despite its short running time. It makes you hope that some overseas filmmaker may yet pick up the GH brand and present his story the way it deserves to be presented.

I’m linking to the English-dubbed version of the short. It’s very energetic and features impressive stunt work, plus the music that plays with the closing credits is a variation of the jazzy Al Hirt theme from the 1960s Green Hornet television series.

NOTE FOR PURISTS: No gas gun for the Hornet in this version, he wields nun-chucks, throws knockout darts and uses kung fu like Kato. Here is the link: Continue reading

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G-8: A WORLD WAR ONE PULP HERO FOR VETERANS DAY

G8 and the vultures of the white deathFor a light-hearted Veterans Day post how about a Balladeer’s Blog shoutout to the fictional American World War One pilot code-named G8. 

THE HERO: G-8 was the codename of an American flying ace of World War One. The character was created by Robert J Hogan in 1933 and over the next 11 years Hogan wrote 110 stories featuring the daring figure. G-8, whose real name was never revealed, was a master of disguise in addition to his piloting and hand-to-hand combat skills. 

Hogan’s hero (see what I did there) was unswervingly patriotic and fiercely dedicated to the defeat of the Central Powers.   

THE STORIES: With his two fellow operatives “The Battle Aces” G-8 conducted aerial commando raids, carried out special forces missions and even undertook espionage missions against the Germans, Austro-Hungarians and the Ottoman Muslim Turks. In true Pulp Story fashion the Central Powers threw a vast array of mad scientists, monstrous creatures and alien super-science against our heroes, who always prevailed in the end.   Continue reading

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